An advisory body of health ministry has recommended the Union government to lift the ban on the sale of Oxytocin through retail chemists.
However, it has not said anything about the proposed ban on Oxytocin production by private companies.
In this regard, the Centre issued a notification on April 27 stating that private companies would not be permitted to manufacture and distribute Oxytocin in India from July 1.
However, fearing Oxytocin shortage, the government postponed the date of implementation of this notification to September 1.
Import of the medicine has already been banned and from September 1 onwards, only Karnataka Antibiotics & Pharmaceuticals Limited (KAPL), a public sector entity, would be permitted to manufacture and distribute Oxytocin in India.
Oxytocin is widely misused in the dairy industry where this drug is injected into livestock to increase milk production artificially. It is also misused in the agriculture industry where vegetables are injected with this drug as it helps in increasing their weight.
The earlier decision (of April 27) was made with arbitrariness and without thinking through the implications. The chief concern is access of Oxytocin to women who need it during childbirth to prevent maternal death through bleeding. The partial reversal of restrictions imposed “ move to go back to permit retail sale “ is halfway back to sanity. The next half is to remove the ban on manufacture of Oxytocin by private players, said S.Srinivasan, Co-convenor, All India Drug Action Network (AIDAN).